The chair of "Forms and processes of public communication" is headed by Prof. Dr. Julia Metag. The team analyzes forms, structures and processes of public communication under the conditions of social change. It does so by studying interdependencies between public communication and the scientific and political system – conducting research on political communication and science communication. By focusing on digitization and its consequences for the society, current changes and developments in public communication in these fields are considered. Furthermore, interdependencies between phenomena on the macro-level – such as fragmentation and polarization of the public – and processes on the micro-level – such as individual information use – are at the core of the groups’ research.
(1) Science Communication
The research group deals with the science of science communication, i.e. analyzing communication by actors of the scientific system and public communication about science. It analyzes, how science communication is altered by current societal changes and what consequences this has for citizens. Different research projects deal with how journalistic and non-journalistic media report on science, how scientific topics are perceived and how different segments of the public vary in their scientific attitude as well as their Information usage and what role digital media plays for science communication.
(2) Political Communication
The groups’ research on political communication examines the transformation of citizens’ information behavior in the digital public sphere and of processes of opinion formation. The team’s focus is on changes, mostly provoked by online media, in political actors’ communicative activities, in journalistic work routines as well as on the effects on citizens’ political information behavior and opinion formation. With regard to the debate on fragmentation of the public sphere, it tackles questions about how to reach out to individuals who do not use traditional sources of information or avoid certain topics and/or channels altogether.